So far during the 2013 season Andrelton Simmons has been one of the worst hitters on the Braves team. The only reason he hasn’t been the obvious worst hitter is because of BJ Upton’s struggles.
Lately however, we have seen Andrelton Simmons do some really nice things at the plate. He’s had a couple game winning hits and in July he’s had a big power surge, with 5 homers from July 1st through July 30th. His previous monthly high was three in May. On the season Simmons is putting up a less than stellar line of .249/.287/.372 with an 82 wRC+. During July that line is much easier to look at: .276/.313/.495 with a 121 wRC+.
The main reason for the recent success, is the increase in power and a higher line drive percentage combined with the lowest infield fly ball percentage he has had so far this season.
Here are his ISO, LD%, and IFFB% numbers for each month this season so you can get a better idea of what’s going on:
The most obvious difference comes with the ISO (isolated power) number which is an extremely impressive .219 for a player like Simmons. The other two marks are the highest and lowest respectively but you wouldn’t expect such a small difference to have a significant effect on his production. This might explain why Simmons’ slugging percentage rose by more than .100 and his average and on base percentage only increased by about .25 points.
It seems like Simmons is simply seeing the ball well and making contact a bit better than he normally does. I would not consider this to be some kind of “turning point” for Andrelton as an offensive player. He still has a terrible approach at the plate and until that changes I don’t think we should expect anything better than a mediocre hitter. Chip and Joe will tell you on the Braves broadcast that he is “one of the hardest guys to strike out in the game” but don’t let that fool you. Just because he doesn’t strike out a lot doesn’t mean he isn’t still making a lot of outs.
In July he has a BB% of 5.4 and a K% of just 1.8. Simmons knows he is seeing the ball well and is in “full swing” mode as a result. It’s nice to see at the time but don’t get your hopes up and think that this is a new Andrelton Simmons. It’s the same Andrelton Simmons, he’s just in a nice little streak. Enjoy it while it lasts but temper your expectations for the kid as we go forward and know that even when he is doing terrible at the plate, he is still the best defensive shortstop in baseball. Plus, he can do this: